Inside the White House plan to sell its massive infrastructure proposal

Republicans have already cast it as a money grab, layered in unnecessary spending and tax hikes.

But White House officials are betting that approach will backfire. To them, the millions of Americans trapped at home during the pandemic have developed a deep understanding of what it takes to survive in the United States in 2021 — and it goes far beyond fixing roads and bridges. It’s about expanding elder care to help suburban moms sandwiched between taking care of ailing parents and home-bound children, they say. Or with improving broadband networks for families in rural areas who’ve been stuck trying to work and study from home with shoddy networks.

As one person close to the White House put it, in their mind, Republicans will be viewed as “profoundly out of touch” if they don’t get on board with backing the next round of spending.

“The pandemic has put into stark relief the deficiencies in our infrastructure that people are living with day in and day out. Internet is one of the most obvious. The dilemma that families have faced when it comes to care for both their children and for elderly family members during this pandemic has also been a nearly existential one,” said Kate Bedingfield, White House communications director. “If you look at the public polling, the country agrees, the vast majority of people, including the majority of Republicans, think that we need to make infrastructure investment.”